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Farmers Insurance Open

Tournament preview

There aren't too many cities in the United States more beautiful than La Jolla, California, and few golf courses more beautiful than Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Thus, both places are a perfect setting for the first big tournament of the 2014 season - the Farmers Insurance Open as well as the debut of No. 1 Tiger Woods, who's not only the defending champion, but has also won this event a staggering seven times, including four times in a row between 2005-2008.

In what could be construed as either a ploy for the TV cameras or a subtle message to Woods, he is paired with 20-year-old phenom Jordan Spieth, who last season put up one of the most impressive seasons as a teenager since Woods himself did likewise in the late 1990s.

Jimmy Walker, who already has a tournament win this year, joins the trio that begins play at 10:40 a.m. local time.

Players will visit both the North and South courses at Torrey Pines. Woods, Spieth and Walker will kick off on No. 1 of the South Course; as will Billy Horschel, Ian Poulter and Rickie Fowler.

The North Course will feature two impressive trios teeing off within 10 minutes of one another. At 9:20 a.m., Ryder Cup teammates Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley and Hunter Mahan take the course; followed 10 minutes later by Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Jason Day.

At the tender age of 20, Jordan Spieth turned the golf world on its ear last summer and fall with his string of Top 10 finishes and his high standing in the final FedEx Cup tallies.

One of those top 10 finishes was at the Wyndham Championship last year in which he lost a playoff to a guy named Patrick Reed, who birdied the lone playoff hole.

Spieth was the hot name on everyone's tongue last year, but Reed, just three years older, is proving that the PGA tour has room for more than one precocious power player in 2014.

Reed won the Humana Challenge on Sunday by two strokes over Ryan Palmer despite struggling to a 71 on the final round after shooting three straight 63s - in the process setting a PGA Tour record for the most strokes under par (27) through 54 holes.
It was also the first time in tour history that a player started a tournament with three straight rounds of 63 or better.

Prior to last weekend, Reed was largely known for his caddy - Justine Karain - who also happens to be his wife. The striking blonde has been married to Reed for just over a year and is his main adviser on putts.

Winning has come often for Reed. He won the Louisiana state high school championship as both a junior and a senior, and won the 2006 Junior British Open.

He helped Augusta State win the NCAA title in 2010 and 2011 and reached the semifinals of the 2008 US Amateur.


01/22/14, Thursday

Torrey Pines, with its two courses, is one of the more unique tournaments on the PGA Tour, and those who get to play the vastly shorter North course first feel the pressure to strike early when the Farmers Insurance Open comes to town.

Such was the case for Stewart Cink and Gary Woodland, who took the top two spots on the leaderboard at the end of the tournament's first day.

The 40-year-old Cink, ranked 63rd in the world, fired eight birdies, including five on the back nine, to post an 8-under 64.

The 29-year-old Woodland, off to a fast start on the money board in 2014, fired a 7-under 65, finishing fast with a birdie on No. 17 and an eagle 3 on No. 18.

Four players - including Australia's Jason Day and Marc Leishman - are tied for third at 6-under, with three more at 5-under tied for seventh.

British Open champion Phil Mickelson fired a 3-under 69 and is in a huge pack tied for 17th. After birdies on No. 7 and 9, then fired eight straight pars before birdying No. 18.

Second-year pro Jordan Speith shot an opening-round 71, shaking off a trio of bogeys with a stretch of three consecutive birdies on the front nine.

Fellow Americans Hunter Mahan and Tiger Woods both shot even par 72s on Day One to put them in a tie for 63rd. Woods had a ho-hum first round - two birdies, two bogeys and 14 pars.



01/23/14, Friday

They paired 20-year-old Jordan Spieth with world No. 1 Tiger Woods in the opening rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open for pretty obvious reasons: Woods has owned Torrey Pines, what with seven career wins there, and a long time ago, he was what Spieth now is - the phenom on the tour.

But few would have guessed that the phenom would so thoroughly outplay the master to this point in the competition.

Spieth fired a tournament-best 63 on Friday to drop to 10-under for the first two rounds of the tournament held annually in La Jolla.

He has a one-stroke lead over Day One leader Stewart Cink, who fired a 71 on Friday after his own 64 on Thursday.

Tied for 46th place at 1-under on Thursday, Spieth dissected the course like a skilled surgeon on Fridy, recording nine birdies and never going more than three holes in a row without one.

He shot 31 on the front nine and 32 on the back.

Cink started slow but finished 1-under on the day. The pair will be matched with Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts on the final two days .Colsaerts shot 5-under on the day and is 8-under after two rounds.

Billy Horschel and Marc Leishman are tied for fourth at 7-under, followed by a five-way tie at 6-under that includes Scotland's Russel Knox, who fired a 5-under 67.

It wasn't a good day for most of the players who had ended Day One in the Top 10.

Gary Woodland followed up his 65 with a 1-over 73, the same score recorded by Jason Day, who dropped from third to a tie for 11th. Jim Herman was also in third when the round started, only to stagger to a 3-over 75 to sit at 3-under, tied for 22nd.

The two biggest names at the event did very little to live up to the hype. British Open defending champion Phil Mickelson complained of a hurt back and finished 1-over, recording five bogeys. Mickelson is tied for 32nd at 2-under.

The aforementioned Woods fired a 1-under 71 thanks to birdies on 10 and 15. He is 1-under for the tournament, tied for 50th and nine strokes off the lead.

The cut was set at even par, leaving players like Jimmy Walker, Heath Slocum and Vijay Singh on the outside looking in.


01/24/14, Saturday

It's anyone's tournament heading into the final Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.

Well, anyone not named Tiger Woods.

The seven-time tournament champion failed to make the secondary cut, finishing with a 7-over 79, his worst round ever in the US.

Woods finished the tournament at 6-over. He was awful out of the gate, starting his round with a double bogey and five bogeys before finally birdying No. 7.

He was only 1-over on the back nine, but a double bogey on No. 18 kept him from competing in the final round.

There are 22 players within four strokes of the lead, currently owned by Gary Woodland, who was 2-under on the day and 8-under for the tournament.

Woodland had a chance to really open up a lead, but bogeyed No. 15 and doubled No. 17.

He has a one-stroke lead over Australia's Marc Leishman and the US' Jordan Spieth.
Leishman got into the race by basically standing still, shooting an even par 72, while Spieth fell back into the pack with a 3-over 75.

Spieth had the sort of round one would normally expect from a 20-year-old on tour - four bogeys, three birdies and a double bogey.

Pat Perez and Morgan Hoffman each shot a 72 to stand tied for fourth at 6-under. Seven more players are at 5-under, including South Africa's Rory Sabbatini, the 37-year-old in his 14th year on the tour.


01/25/14, Sunday

Nine different players had the lead at one point or another on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.

At the end, only Scott Stallings could claim it.

Stallings shot a 4-under 68 highlighted by a dramatic birdie on No. 18 to take a one-stroke win over five different players at Torrey Pines.

Stallings started the day three strokes back of the lead, having finished at even par in two of the three opening rounds.

He bogeyed three holes on Sunday, but recorded seven birdies to keep himself ahead of the game.

The logjam in second place included Korea's K.J. Choi, Canada's Graham Delaet, Australia's Jason Day and Marc Leishman and the US' Pat Perez.

Choi responded best to the pressure of the final day, firing a low round of 66, but faltering early and late with bogeys on No. 1 and No. 17.

Japan's Ryo Ishikawa Americans Charley Hoffman and Will MacKenzie tied for seventh at 7-under.

American Gary Woodland, who led going into the final round, dropped back into a tie for 10th after firing a 74 to finish at 6-under.

He was at even par for the day through 14 holes, then staggered to a double bogey 6 on No. 17 to fall out of contention.

Youngster Jordan Spieth continued to struggle after his dazzling 63 on Friday, shooting a second consecutive 75 to finish tied for 19th at 4-under. Spieth was at even par through 14 holes, then hit bogeys on 15, 16 and 18 to tumble down the leaderboard.

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